Category Archives: Christian Life

MOLLY AND ME – CO-OPERATION

MOLLY AND ME – CO-OPERATION

Molly is now 4 years old, an adult dog with the settled characteristics of her breed, good and bad. I bought her as a tiny puppy with the whole package of a dachshund, including inquisitiveness, stubbornness and self-will!

I have discovered, in the four years that she has been my little companion that, though I am in charge, she’s the boss. Now, that means that, when we walk in the mornings, she has her agenda and I have mine. The problem is that we both think that our agenda should take precedence.

You see, I walk for exercise (for both of us) but she walks for information…which makes walking for exercise my way a power struggle and walking for information her way a stroll. One can’t gather important information by whizzing past every new smell without carefully investigating its source and content. Of course, in between, there is also the important business of doing her business and showing both contempt or approval by marking each interesting spot with you know what!

So, since I have the brain and she has the muscle, we have reached a sort of truce by my decision to co-operate with her so that she unknowingly co-operates with me…which makes our walk a stop-start, sniff-and-pee, jerky sort of progression towards home. I suppose that we both achieve our goals in the end, though not quite in the way we anticipated.

My walk with the Lord in life is a bit like my daily walks with Molly. Unfortunately, my agenda does not always coincide with God’s agenda for me, which makes life (at least for me) a power struggle… but, I’m slowly learning the benefit of submission.

However, my walk with the Lord and my walks with Molly differ in many ways. You see, Molly and I don’t have the same nature. She has a doggy nature which functions mostly by instinct and by what she learns with much repetition where I have a human nature which functions according to decisions and choices, making me accountable to my Creator, where she is not accountable to me.

I control Molly by co-ercion, manipulation and sometimes even force, using her instincts to get her to do what I want (sometimes, because she is a doxie)! By contrast, God the Holy Spirit, appeals to the new nature in me because I have been born again, to live according to God’s Word, but the choice is always mine.

God’s role in training me is far more difficult than my task of training Molly. Where we blend our goals when we walk to make for an uneasy truce, the Holy Spirit persists in His role of conforming me to the image of Jesus. In the end, I have no say in the matter except to cooperate since He is committed to complete what He began when He rescued me from the dominion of darkness.

So, my walk with the Lord is an ever-growing awareness that it’s far easier and better to comply with the Holy Spirit’s leading since this is the evidence that I am a child of God.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

 

26 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM –THE POWER OF THE WORD

26 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM –THE POWER OF THE WORD

It is fitting that we should conclude our studies on the powers of the kingdom, at least for a while, with a closer look at what the Bible has to say about itself. After all, if this book is not authentic, then everything we believe and live by is a lie, and we are all witnesses to something that is not and never has been true.

Every religion has an originator and sacred writings that claim to be the truth. What makes our faith unique? We claim to have a written record of what God has spoken that is infallible, indestructible, powerful, and eternal.

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12 NLT

This is the witness of God’s Word about itself and the reason for people’s differing responses to this book.

The Bible is either loved and revered by those who believe it and are transformed by its truth or hated and feared by those who claim allegiance to other gods.

The story of the Bible is amazing. Despite every attempt to destroy this book, God has protected it to the extent that its words and influence have infiltrated the entire planet. Since it has been translated and disseminated across the globe in written and digital form, it would now be impossible to eradicate it from the earth.

During the most repressive of regimes, especially in China and Russia, the Word lived on and even single pages of the Bible have brought people to living faith in Jesus.

We call the Bible God’s Word. According to Hebrew scholars, the Word is a manifestation of God in another form. In other words, God has revealed Himself to us in written form, using the words that people can understand to explain what we need to know about Him in order to believe in Him.

The Bible contains words in three forms

  1. The LOGOS

In essence, the “logos” is everything God has  revealed in written form, that enables us to connect with Him.

  1. The RHEMA

Rhema is the Greek word for “word” which reflects the spoken word or utterance. The whole Bible is God’s “logos” but there are times when God speaks a specific “rhema” word to our situation or need. The Holy Spirit quickens the Word that is in us to give us light, or to provide wisdom or a weapon against the devil’s lies.

“But Jesus told him (Satan), “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word (rhema) that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4 NLT

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.  He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.  All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’ ” John 16:13-15 NLT

  1. JESUS, the living Word

God spoke words through His prophets in the Old Covenant, but His final word came in the form of a person, Jesus, who is the embodiment of everything God has revealed about Himself. Jesus is the living LOGOS, God’s final word.

“Long ago, God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.” Hebrews 1:1-3 NLT

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ITSELF?

Apart from the many millions whose lives have been changed by reading the Bible, we have the witness of the Bible itself to its power to work in people’s lives, either to judge and condemn or to save and transform.

PROPHECY AUTHENTICATES THE TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE

Let’s start with prophecy because prophecy is God’s trump card that witnesses to the Bible’s authenticity.

Many so-called prophets, both in and outside the Bible, claim to speak for God. How do we know that what they say is the truth?

“I have not sent these prophets, yet they run around claiming to speak for me. I have given them no message, yet they go on prophesying. If they had stood before me and listened to me, they would have spoken my words, and they would have turned my people from their evil ways and deeds.” Jeremiah 23:21-22 NLT

False prophets tell people what they want to hear. True prophecy speaks the truth whether it is palatable to the hearer or not.

“Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.” Isaiah 46:10 NLT

“Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘You must die. Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the Lord .’” Two months later the prophet Hananiah died.” Jeremiah 28:15-17

Jesus is the final proof is the truth of Old Testament prophecy . Since everything that was prophesied about His first coming was fulfilled, we can safely believe that everything prophesied about His second coming will also be fulfilled.

“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.’ 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 NIV

GOD’ S WORD IS PERFECT

“And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.” Psalms 12:6 NIV

There is nothing we can add to or take from the Bible to make it a better revelation of God. If we do so, we only bring judgement on ourselves.

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” Revelation 22:18-19 NIV 

THE BIBLE IS SPIRIT-INSPIRED

“Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding,  or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:20-21 NLT

THE BIBLE IS FOOD FOR OUR SOULS

“And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.  Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” Ezekiel 3:1-3 NIV  

“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.  The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.  They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.  By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. “Psalms 19:7-11 NIV

THE WORDS OF SCRIPTURE HAVE THE POWER TO EXPOSE THE HEART

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” Hebrews 4:12-13 NLT

“Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord . “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord , “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:28-29 NIV

FAITH COMES BY HEARING THE WORD

“So, faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” Romans 10:17 NLT

WE ARE BORN AGAIN THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD

“For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23 NLT

WE ARE WASHED BY THE WORD

3″You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” John 15:3

“…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…” Ephesians 5:25-26

THE BIBLE IS A MIRROR IN WHICH WE SEE OURSELVES

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:22-25 NLT

ALL SCRIPTURE IS PROFITABLE

“You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:15-16 NLT 

GOD’S WORD GIVES US HOPE

Two promises that I cling to that I know God will keep

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Phil. 1:6 NLT 

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT

The Bible has so much to say about itself that we could go on discovering the treasures of God’s Word forever.

Since we can’t do this here, I would like to conclude this series with what the Master Himself has to say about His Word.

  1. God’s Word is truth

“Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.”John 17:17 NLT

  1. God’s Word is authoritative

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4 NIV

  1. Jesus’s words give life

“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” John 6:63 NLT

  1. Jesus speaks God’s words

“I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.” John 12:49 NLT

  1. Jesus’ words are the standard of judgement

“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.  There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.” John 12:47-48 NIV

THE GLORY OF JESUS, GOD’S FINAL AND PERFECT WORD

“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3 NLT

“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God.” Revelation 19:11-13 NLT

NO OTHER BOOK CAN CONFIDENTLY PROCLAIM A MESSAGE LIKE THIS ONE

“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31

“And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9 NLT

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

All Scripture quotations in this series

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF OUR INHERITANCE

25 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF OUR INHERITANCE

As God’s Son, Jesus is the heir to the Father’s entire estate, the universe and everything in it.

“And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.” Hebrews 1:2 NLT

JESUS IS GOD’S SON

“For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father. ” God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” Hebrews 1:5 NLT

  1. Made like us

“Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17 NLT

“So, now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 2:11 NLT

  1. Confirmed to be God’s Son by His resurrection

“The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 1:3-4 NLT

  1. Heir of the Father

“In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” Hebrews 1:2 NIV

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THIS INHERITANCE?

There are three privileges that children in a family enjoy that orphans, slaves and servants do not experience.

  1. Children have a name.

A child born into a family takes the father’s name which gives him/her an identity and access to all the benefits of that family. Since we are “in Christ”, we have access to everything that Jesus owns “in His name”.

“You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.  Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!…” John 14:13-14 NLT

“Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” Romans 8:32 NLT

  1. Children have a home

As part of the family, every child has a right to live in the father’s home.

“There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:2-3 NLT

  1. Children have an inheritance

In Hebrew culture, children were heirs of their father’s estate. Jesus told a story about two sons, the younger of whom demanded his inheritance before his father’s death.

“The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.” Luke 15:12 NLT

HOW DO WE QUALIFY FOR AN INHERITANCE WITH JESUS?

We are God’s children…

  1. By faith in Jesus

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” John 1:12-13 NLT

  1. Called brothers and sisters

After the resurrection, Jesus called His disciples  “brothers”.

“The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.” Matthew 28:8-10 NLT

“So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 2:11 NLT

  1. We have the witness of the Spirit

“So, you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”  For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:15-16 NLT

  1. The discipline of the Father

“As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.” Hebrews 12:7-8 NLT

  1. The new nature in us

“Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous…. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.” 1 John 3:7, 9 NLT

“And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” 2 Peter 1:4 NLT

  1. The promise of an inheritance

“And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Romans 8:17 NLT

WHAT IS OUR INHERITANCE?

We are co-heirs with Jesus of an inheritance that is both for the present and the future.

THE PRESENT

The “present” part of  inheritance is the “divine nature” with which Adam was created, but was marred at the Fall. As we have learned over many weeks, God has provided the means and the power, in the New Covenant, to restore His nature in us as His children to prepare us for our eternal life with Him in His family.

God uses different means to work in us, to train us to overcome the old nature by nurturing our new nature. He uses the disciplines of hardship and suffering, as we have already studied, to put to death, through the Spirit, our sinful flesh and to strengthen our confidence in His love.

In the context of our inheritance, He has given us powerful tools in His Word to enable us to “grow in grace”.

“And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” 2 Peter 1:4 NLT

By engaging this “power” of the kingdom, we embrace every promise God has given us, endorsed by Jesus, by a hearty “Amen!” We  speak our “Yes” to the words that empower us through the Spirit to think and act like God and not like the world.

“For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No”… and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.”2 Corinthians 1:19-20 NLT

THE FUTURE

God is preparing us for our future inheritance by restoring His nature in us in this life, in the midst of the darkness and sin all around us. We need this worldly environment with its hardship and suffering to build character, to strengthen our faith, and to teach us patience, perseverance and endurance because only those who endure to the end will be saved.

All of our life experiences are moving us towards our future inheritance.

  1. Salvation

“Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.” Hebrews 1:14 NLT

What does “salvation” imply?

We tend to focus on one aspect when we speak of salvation. To us, it means having our sins forgiven so that we can go to heaven when we die. This is only a minute part of the rich meaning of salvation.

“Salvation” in its fullest meaning, implies “wholeness” – the completeness that Adam was created to be, before he sinned.

“So, God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them…. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.” Genesis 1:27, 31 NLT

“VERY GOOD” was God’s verdict on all creation including the first two human beings… “perfect and fully functional”, everything meshed together in perfect harmony.

future inheritance, then, implies restoration to the completeness and full functionality that Adam and Eve enjoyed in the beginning.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”… I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light…. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there…. Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Revelation 21:4, 22-23, 25, 27 NLT

  1. Eternal Life

“One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 10:25 NLT

What is eternal life?

Jesus gave a simple yet profound definition of eternal life…

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3 NIV

There is only one verse in Scripture that gives insight into what it means to “know” God.

“But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the Lord.” Jeremiah 22:15-16 NLT

Knowing God is more than casual acquaintance. Many people glibly say, “I believe in God.” but it means no more than saying,  “I believe in the sun.” To believe in God and to know God implies knowing in the most intimate sense of the word.

If eternal life is to “know God”, it involves a knowing that deeply affects the whole of one’s life.

“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” 1 John 5:11-12 NLT

Therefore, for us to have this gift, this inheritance of eternal life, not only a life that never ends but also a life that continually grows in personal and intimate knowledge of Jesus, we make it our aim to know Him now.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”2 Peter 3:18 NIV

 John gives us a simple way to know God… we must love one another.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 NIV

HOW DO WE ACCESS OUR INHERITANCE?

  1. Put off and put on…

“Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” Colossians 3:9-10 NLT

We have been given unconditional access to all of God’s promises in the New Covenant which enable us to put on (activate) our new nature which God has given to us through our faith in Jesus.

“And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” 2 Peter 1:4 NLT

  1. Say “yes” to every promise that meets our need

“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT

  1. Learn faith and endurance by loving others…

“Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.” Hebrews 6:11-12 NLT

  1. Through sharing Jesus’ suffering

“And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Romans 8:17 NLT

I don’t think Paul meant that we must suffer for Jesus in order to share in His inheritance. I think he meant, not THAT we suffer but HOW we suffer. Everyone suffers in one way or another but our attitude to suffering makes all the difference.

Jesus suffered with humility and obedience.

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges ; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8 NLT

Jesus suffered with submission and faith in the Father.

“For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.”1 Peter 2:21-23 NLT

Jesus suffered with a purpose

“God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.” Hebrews 2:10 NLT

God’s purpose for our suffering is to be “participants in the divine nature”.

“And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord ’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” Hebrews 12:5-6 NLT

“For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness.” Hebrews 12:10 NLT

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:28-29 NLT

Getting to know Jesus, then, includes having the same attitude as He had to His suffering, humbly submitting to the Father’s will, trusting in Him to work for our good, knowing that He is conforming us to the image of His Son.

WHAT ARE THE POWERS OF OUR INHERITANCE?

  1. A powerful motivation to live holy lives

“Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 NLT

  1. A joyful anticipation of future glory

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:3-7 NLT

  1. A great salvation we must not neglect

“So, we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it….  What makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?” Hebrews 2:1, 3 NLT

CONCLUSION

We have an important part to play if we are to share in this glorious inheritance with Jesus.

Salvation, the sum total of our inheritance, is not only a done deal but also a day-by-day participation with the Holy Spirit in becoming who we are… sons and daughters of God.

“Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:12-13 NLT

“As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvellous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.”  2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NLT

Salvation is guaranteed to those who endure to the end. Those who turn back show that they were never a part of us anyway.

“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” 1 John 2:19 NIV

We learn to overcome the world and to live as God’s sons and daughters as we fully embrace our inheritance both for now through His promises and for eternity through His gift of Jesus who is both salvation and eternal life to us.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

All Scripture quotations in this series

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

24 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF MEDITATION

24 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF MEDITATION

What is meditation?

Meditation is like chewing the cud. Animals that chew the cud are called “ruminants” because they regurgitate and rechew their food to get the most nourishment out of it.

One meaning of “to ruminate”, therefore, means “to think deeply about…”, to do with our thoughts what ruminants do with their food.

Some religions and philosophies are big on meditation. It’s a good practice BUT… it’s value lies, not in its practice but in the content of the meditation. False religions focus on some mantra or facet of religious belief for spiritual power or enlightenment.

Since meditation in false religions is such a wide and varied practice, we will turn our attention to what the Bible commands us to do.

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” Joshua 1:8 NLT

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom … “ Colossians 3:16

God’s command to Joshua has in it the principles by which we, as children of God’s kingdom, should conduct our lives in an ungodly world. The Bible is our constitution for life in the kingdom but we will never live in the fullness of kingdom power if we don’t know the requirements and benefits of its constitution.

Firstly, unlike all other religious meditation, we have two infallible “ingredients” for discovering the truth.

  1. We have the Bible which is the infallible Word of God.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

2.  We have the Holy Spirit who always works in tandem with the Word.

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.  He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.  All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’ ” John 16:13-15 NLT

Secondly, let’s look at what it means to think deeply about…

“To meditate is to reflect on, to ponder, to mull over, to talk about, to re-read, to re-hear, to say to others, and to hear from the lips of others.” (au.thegospelcoalition.org)

Our aim is to die to sin and live righteously every day as God’s children in an evil world. God has provided the means to change us into the image of His Son – the Bible. However, the power of God’s Word will be ineffective in us if we casually read and forget.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:22-25 NLT

God has promised blessing on those who meditate on His Word regularly and faithfully, the blessing of a life that is unaffected by outward circumstances, that is stable and fruitful in all seasons and all weather.

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord , meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” Psalms 1:1-3 NLT

One of the provisions of the New Covenant is a promise that God will write His Word on our hearts.

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord . “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33 NLT

However, this cannot happen through casual reading. Continual thought, meditation and application will cut a pathway of thought in one’s mind that will gradually eradicate old patterns of thinking by replacing them with the Word.

Biblical meditation does not aim at emptying the mind. Indeed, it cannot. We can only replace patterns of destructive thinking by filling our minds with God’s Word.

FIVE WAYS TO WRITE THE WORD ON OUR HEARTS

There are 5 ways to apply the practice of meditation in such a way that it becomes the instrument of transformation. However, we must remember that we always do this in partnership with the Holy Spirit, trusting Him to use the Word to do what God has promised He will do.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12 NLT

THE WORD MUST BE

  1. In your mind and heart

To write God’s word on our hears requires diligence and discipline.

There is great benefit in dwelling on a passage of Scripture for several days or even weeks. I call it “inching” my way through the Word.

Writing down thoughts, understanding and revelation helps to fix the Word in one’s mind and encourages acting on what the Word says.

Memorising Scripture, especially key verses or passages, gives the Holy Spirit fuel to fire the heart when the need arises.

A valuable way to increase our understanding of what the Word says is to compare Scripture with Scripture. I find that the Holy Spirit reminds me of verses and passages that are already in my heart that build on or awaken my understanding of some truth I am exploring.

Ask questions. God loves to respond to our sincere desire to know Him through the Word. He will answer your questions, not always immediately but eventually if you stay alert and expect an answer.

  1. In your eyes

We remember what we see. Use whatever visual aids you can that help you to remember the words of Scripture – pictures, flash cards, fridge magnets, etc.

  1. On your lips – to yourself

Hebrew words usually get their meaning from the context. The word “hagah”, translated “meditate” is often translated by a word that includes repetitive sound, e.g., to murmur or mutter. So, to meditate is to mutter God’s Word over and over until it is fixed in your mind.

By muttering the Word, you hear as well as see the words of Scripture which will help to write them on your heart.

  1. On your lips – to others

This may not always be easy depending on the responsiveness of the hearer. Speaking God’s Word over and over to your children is a valuable way of getting the Word into them. Use the Word to reinforce wisdom as you guide them through the challenges of life.

This was God’s instruction to Israel…

“And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NLT

We can do the same with the promises of the New Covenant.

  1. In your ears – from the lips of others

Again, this is an activity of committed believers with one another. How valuable to counsel and encourage one another with the words of Scripture rather than the words of human wisdom!

WHY DO WE NEED TO MEDITATE ON THE WORD?

Meditating on God’s Word is a powerful and effective way to change our thinking from the way of the world to the way of the Word. We must take the “l” out of world for the following reasons:

  1. The world loves LAWS. The world is governed by laws, rules and regulations which people regularly break. This is what law does to the unbeliever. It awakens the rebellion that is in the heart.

“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway…. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” Romans 7:18-19, 23 NLT

  1. The authorities that rule the world are not LEGITIMATE. The world, and the god of this world has usurped the authority to rule that belongs to God alone.

“We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19 NLT

When we fill our minds with the Word, we come under its authority and live by its power rather than the illegitimate authority of ungodliness.

  1. The world demands our LOVE. We cannot love the world and God at the same time. God’s Kingdom and the kingdoms of the world are opposed to each other.

“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.” 1 John 2:15 NLT

CONCLUSION

Our minds process and filter what comes in from the outside. We choose what we will reject and what we will retain, and what we retain will form the belief system that governs our attitudes and behaviour.

Without God’s Word in our minds and hearts, we will be like a rudderless ship, at the mercy of every influence, good or bad, that blows us through life.

God has graciously given us gifted people who minister God’s Word to us to build us up in our faith and conduct…

“This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:13-15 NLT

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

All Scripture quotations in this series

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF THE NEW COVENANT- PART 2

23 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF THE NEW COVENANT- PART 2

We have spoken about the New Covenant as God’s promise to do for His people what the Old Covenant could never do. We have looked at the purpose of the Old Covenant, to prepare His people for the coming of the Messiah who would be the New Covenant to Israel and through them, to fulfil God’s promise to Abraham to be a blessing to all the nations on earth.

Now it’s time for us to study the New Covenant in greater detail so that we can understand what it has done which the Old failed to do and how it can empower us to overcome our enemies and prepare us for our role in eternity as God’s sons and daughters.

Since a covenant is a legally binding contract between two consenting parties, and since it cannot be broken unless one or the other party fails to fulfil its terms, we need to understand why the New Covenant can never fail.

Let’s look at this important fact first. What makes the New Covenant infallible where the Old Covenant failed?

At Mount Sinai, God made a covenant with His people. He offered them a marriage contract with terms that they accepted.

“Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure (a marriage proposal in Hebrew culture) from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.” So Moses returned from the mountain and called together the elders of the people and told them everything the Lord had commanded him. And all the people responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.” So Moses brought the people’s answer back to the Lord .” Exodus 19:5-8 NLT

Israel’s history proved that they were incapable of keeping this covenant. They were guilty of spiritual adultery by their idolatry, and God eventually divorced them by sending both Israel and Judah into captivity in foreign lands.

“During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what fickle Israel has done? Like a wife who commits adultery, Israel has worshiped other gods on every hill and under every green tree. I thought, ‘After she has done all this, she will return to me.’ But she did not return, and her faithless sister Judah saw this. She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution.”

Jeremiah 3:6-8 NLT

But that’s not the end of the story. In His mercy, God promised restoration and, in the end, a new contract that could never be broken.

“In those days the people of Judah and Israel will return together from exile in the north. They will return to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance forever.” Jeremiah 3:18 NLT

God knew that His people would fail to obey His covenant before the foundation of the world, so He planned a covenant that would never fail.

“The day is coming,” says the Lord , “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:31-32 NLT

Since His covenant had to be contracted between Himself and the human race, His plan was to send His Son into the world as a human being to represent the human race, just as Adam represented all mankind as the first human being He created.

“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” Romans 5:12 NLT

God’s New Covenant would stand or fall on the faithfulness of His Servant, Jesus.

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” Isaiah 42:6-7 NIV

We know that God accepted Jesus’s death (blood) as the ratification of the New Covenant, (just as the Old Covenant was ratified (signed) in animal blood), because He raised Him from the dead.

“… and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 1:4 NLT

So, Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant by dying to pay the debt of the whole human race for disobeying God’s law. He is now the New Covenant, which He signed and sealed with His own blood.

“Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.   “This is my blood of the  (new, some manuscripts) covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.” Mark 14:23-24 NIV

Since Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Old Covenant with its rules, regulations, and rituals, it has become obsolete. We are no longer obliged to keep its terms and conditions.

“If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it…. When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.” Hebrews 8:7, 13 NLT

“The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Hebrews 10:1-4 NLT

THE TERMS IF THE NEW COVENANT

Since a covenant is contracted between two parties and, since the New Covenant was contracted between the Father and the Son, what are the terms of this New Covenant that make it different from the Old Covenant?

GOD’S PART

  1. All sin is forgiven and all remembrance of sin is removed.

“He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:14 NLT

  1. Sin’s power over us is broken. We are no longer obligated to obey its demands because grace has replaced the law.

“Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” Romans 6:14 NLT

  1. Through faith in Jesus, we are no longer “in Adam” but “in Christ”.

“Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:19, 21 NLT

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

  1. All guilt, shame, and fear have been removed.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because, through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2 NIV

  1. We have boldness to enter the Most Holy Place.

We have direct access to the Father through Jesus who is our eternal and heavenly High Priest.

“There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” Hebrews 7:23-25 NLT

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22 NLT

  1. We have received Christ’s Spirit, we have been adopted into God’s family, and have been made co-heirs with Christ of everything that belongs to Him.

So, you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”  For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” Romans 8:15-17 NLT

“So, don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.” 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 NLT

  1. Our inheritance is the divine nature which God gives us through His promises.

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-4 NLT

  1. All of God’s promises become ours through simple agreement.

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT

Jesus has fulfilled all of God’s promises and now  we are free to receive them by faith by speaking the  “amen” –  “let it be so” to the appropriate word. Our prayers become “thank you” in place of Old Covenant prayers which were “please” prayers.

  1. We have been rescued from the dominion of darkness…

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,” Colossians 1:13 NIV

  1. Set free from the yoke of bondage to the law…

“So, Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1 NLT

  1. No longer under the curse of the law

‘But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” Galatians 3:10 NLT

  1. We are the body and bride of Christ

“For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.” Ephesians 5:23 NLT

“For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2 NLT

WHAT IS OUR RESPONSE TO THE NEW COVENANT?

Unlike the Old Covenant which demanded perfect obedience to all its laws, the New Covenant has only one requirement – love.

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 NIV

According to John, we will maintain a good conscience if we obey the two commandments of the New Covenant.

“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” 1 John 3:23 NLT

There are two important parts to this command.

  1. Believe in Jesus’ name

To believe means much more than to give intellectual assent to a fact or truth. Believing implies throwing your total weight on Jesus, accepting and acting on the truth of who He is and what He has said.

Jesus’ name is more than the way to distinguish Him from other people. In Hebrew thought, a name is a prophetic utterance of character. Everything that Jesus is is expressed in His name.

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 NIV

Therefore, to believe in the name of Jesus is throw one’s full weight of trust and obedience on Jesus because His name means Saviour and He saves His people from their sins.

  1. Love one another

We are not commanded to love Jesus in Scripture. Our love for Him and for our fellow believers flows from His love for us and is produced by the Holy Spirit as part of the package of salvation.

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5 NIV

Everything Jesus promised us comes from His love for us and everything He requires of us is our loving response to His love.

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 NIV

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:21 NIV

What are Jesus’ commands?

“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” 1 John 3:21-23 NIV

TO SUM UP

Let me tell you the about the beauty of the New Covenant.

  1. Jesus has done all the work for us.

He has perfectly obeyed and fulfilled all the requirements of the Old Covenant.

He has died in our place to pay the debt of our sin.

He has reconciled us to the Father and restored us to God’s family as His sons and daughters.

He has unmasked and overcome the devil.

He has given us the Helper to live in us to provide the power to live a new life.

He has given us all the promises and the power we need to live a godly life.

  1. Our response is very simple.

Three words encompass everything that  explains our part in the New Covenant.

DONE – Jesus has done it ALL… believe it.

REST – in the finished work of Jesus… believe it.

LET – allow the Holy Spirit to produce what is in you… believe it.

“Now we who have believed enter that rest,…” Hebrews 4:3 NIV

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed… continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13 NIV

“LET no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 NIV

“LET the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

LET the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:15-16 NIV

“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.  This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. THIS IS ACCOMPLISHED FROM START TO FINISH BY FAITH. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” Romans 1:16-17 NLT

And so, my brothers and sisters, we who now participate in the New Covenant have a new life and a new focus.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”Matthew 6:33 NLT

W e are no longer concerned with what happens to us because we live in a fallen world. We cannot escape, but we live above the trials and troubles that plague us all in this life. We don’t have to fight the devil and his demons.

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.” Colossians 3:1-4 NLT

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

All Scripture quotations in this series

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.